BOOK REVIEW | All Things New – Lauren Miller (ARC)

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Title                : All Things New
Author           : Lauren Miller
Genre             : Young Adult
Publish          : August 1st, 2017
Rating            : 5/5

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Synopsis 

Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten good at hiding it.  No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that doesn’t help, the meds that haven’t worked.  But when an accident leaves her with a brain injury and terrible scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s fine finally crumble.  Now, she’s broken on the outside, too.  Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, she moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but things go from bad to worse when Jessa realizes she’s hallucinating bruises and scars on the people around her.   She blames it on the accident, but as she gets better and the hallucinations continue, she begins to wonder if what’s she’s seeing could somehow be real.   While searching for answers, she falls for Marshall, a boy whose kindness and levity slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world —  a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

ALL THINGS NEW is a love story about perception and truth, physical and emotional pain, and the messy, complicated people we are behind the masks we put on for the world.

Review

I was provided with a copy by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I just finished reading the book and I don’t know where to start because everything about this book is freaking awesome! I first came across this book on NetGalley. The cover was what draws me to the book at first and then I read the synopsis and voila, I clicked send to Kindle.

The story focused on Jessa, who always hid her feelings and that includes hiding her panic attacks. She was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder after her parents’ divorce. She didn’t have many friends and her only companion was her boyfriend, Wren. Things happened one night that upset her, which lead to a severe car accident that left Jessa with scars and hallucination. She moves to Colorado to live with her dad and that’s really when the story begins.

She started to hang out with Hannah, the girl who was appointed to show her around on the first day of school. Jessa also got to meet Hannah’s twin brother, Marshall, who didn’t treat her differently and somehow able to make Jessa feels comfortable around him.

Ever since her accident, she started to see bruises and wounds when she looked at other people, even when she thought she was getting better. She started to think that she maybe had the ability to see what’s real in a person.

From there, we got to see Jessa’s journey on healing with the help of her dad and friends. We saw how talking to these new people really brought a different perspective for her and Jessa started to see herself differently at a certain point. She decided to get help and fought hard to get better. She learned to believe in herself and accepted who she was.

“‘Cause, like, we’ve all got stuff, right? What’s the point of pretending we don’t?”

I really really like Jessa. There were moments when I was frustrated with her in the beginning but I really like how her character developed. She doesn’t make excuses for herself and I admire that. I feel like I haven’t seen a lot of super honest heroine in YA before.

“But I didn’t have a magical canvas, so I tried burying the truth inside me instead, building little mental boxes to hold the things I didn’t want anyone to see. The all-consuming panic. The swirling thoughts. The sinking shame. The fear that I’m not good enough, have never been good enough”

My favourite character in the book is definitely Marshall. He is extremely likeable and sweet. He tried to understand Jessa without crowding her. He wanted her to open up and to stop hiding her feelings because he knew how much it affected her.

“Marshall makes a fist, pretends to punch through the invisible wall. Then he reaches his arm out and lays his palm on my collarbone, and when he does there is a sensation inside me like window blinds snapping up. Every part of me wants to shrink back, to pull the blinds back down, to build the wall back up. “I want your heart,” Marshall says simply. “I want you to trust me with it. I don’t think you do yet.”

Do you see what I mean? Probably one of the best YA book boyfriend I’ve ever read. He’s also very funny and doesn’t always take things seriously.

Then we have Marshall’s twin sister, Hannah. She first met Jessa when she was appointed to show Jessa around. Throughout the book, Hannah was preparing for her piano audition to enter a prestigious music school. She was so focused on her audition that she doesn’t care much about anything else, even about Marshall’s heart condition. Often times, Jessa finds herself questioning why Hannah didn’t seem to care much about Marshall, even when she is dead worried about him. Hannah also dealt with her own issue and I have to say that I like the Hannah at the end of the book more. Because like Jessa, I sometimes found Hannah a bit selfish even though I can understand why.

I also love Jessa’s dad! He left when Jessa was younger and that cause Jessa’s anxiety. You can tell that he cared a lot about her and felt guilty. I like how he tried his best to help Jessa open up and got better even if Jessa chose not to. One of my favourite scenes in the book was when he told Jessa why he left. Although it seems like the one in the copy I got is cut because it jumps straight to a conversation between Jessa and Marshall. Or maybe it supposed to be that way but there was no divider between the two lines so that made me wonder if that’s an error. The only thing I felt a little down about is the ending of the book. It felt a little rush to me. I wish we got to see more of what happened next to Jessa, Marshall, and Hannah.

“It’s not that we’re all broken inside. It’s that we’re not. Brokenness is just like beauty; it’s something we wear and carry, and if we let it define us, it will. But we are not our beauty or our brokenness, because souls are not made of beauty or brokenness. Souls are made of something permanent. Souls are made of truth”

All Things New for me has become one of my favourite YA books. The biggest takeaway for me after reading the book is about acceptance and believing in oneself. Especially when it comes to dealing with the things we are scared of; that we don’t have to be ashamed of ourselves, of having what other people might think of as a weakness.

This was the first book of Lauren Miller that I read and you bet, I will read her other books because she definitely has ways with words. While reading, I found myself tearing up after reading certain lines in the book because of how true they are and no book I’ve read so far has been able to capture those feelings in words. The depiction of anxiety in this book felt so real. Maybe it’s because of how detailed Jessa’s inner thoughts are being written in the book. The words spoken by the others felt genuine and almost felt like they are talking to me instead of the characters in the book (that’s what made me cry reading them).

So, thank you, Lauren Miller, for writing such a beautiful and uplifting book!

xo,

Naths

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